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If You Like . . . Julie Garwood, the Historicals hosted...

We are starting a new series called “If You Like” which will be hosted by various readers, authors and bloggers of Dear Author. The purpose of the post and the comments is to explore what we like about a particular iconic author and what other authors have books like the iconic author. Today’s feature is brought to you by one of my favorite people, Jill Myles. Jill was my long suffering roommate at RWA in San Francisco. She is also an up and coming author with her first story to be released in January 2010. (I know, so far away). We’ll be shamelessly pimping her in a year or so. Until such time, enjoy her account of the wonderful books that Julie Garwood contributed to our romance community.

If you would like to host an “If You Like” post, please email me at Jane at dearauthor.com

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If You Like-Julie Garwood

For as long as I can remember, Julie Garwood’s historical romances have been on my re-read shelf. I have a lengthy list of enjoyable authors, but no one captures my heart quite like Julie Garwood does. About once a year, I dust off my favorites and go through the entire list again, sinking into the story once more. There’s just something about a good Garwood historical romance that brings a goofy smile to my face, lightness to my heart, and all my available cash from my wallet (since I tend to lose my copies and have to buy them over and over again).

book review Julie Garwood writes two separate categories of novels. We have our historical romances (The Gift, The Prize, The Secret). In recent years, Julie has moved forward with romantic suspense-which I confess I do not read. This "If You Like’ segment will focus on Julie’s historical romances.

If I had to describe Garwood’s novels with one word, I’d probably use "charming’. Like a Hallmark card or those commercials with cute kids and puppies, you know what you’re being fed is probably a little sappy and corny, but it’s so well done that you don’t care. For me, Garwood’s books have always been spearheaded with a compelling heroine, charming interaction between the hero and heroine, and an overall "Feel Good’ sort of closure when you finish the novel. They’re not cotton candy fluff, but more like Peanut M&Ms. You promise yourself that you’re only going to eat one or two, and before you know it, you’re fishing the last one out of the bottom of the bag with your finger, and wondering if it would make you a glutton if you buy another bag (for the record, yes). Just like you wish the bag of M&Ms was endless (and calorie free), I always find myself wishing that there were more Julie Garwood historicals.

Heroine type: The Disney heroine

book review For me, the heroine in a Julie Garwood novel is always the stand-out, and the reason I follow the books. She always has the major story arc of the story, and never fails to win over the hearts of all she encounters. That being said, Garwood heroines also tend to have a Pollyanna-esque sort of mentality, or perhaps Disney heroine. They’re cute, they’re adorable, fluffy bunnies love them, they save the day, etc. Normally this would bother me, but the heroine is always somewhat flawed as well, or viewed as odd or eccentric by other characters, so it tends to balance out without being saccharine. Brianna in The Wedding is terribly absent-minded and constantly loses things. Judith in The Secret rides to Scotland to help deliver her best friend’s baby-and doesn’t tell anyone that she’s never actually attended a birth.

Usually in a Garwood, the heroine’s family is dead or evil, and so she must face her challenges alone-at least until the hero arrives. There’s a meta-theme that runs through her books of the lonely heroine who suddenly finds her one true defender. For me, this resonates particularly well.

Hero type: Strong-jawed man in a kilt

The heroes are always alpha and usually Scottish. What, you wanted more than that? Okay. The heroes of Julie Garwood novels are always the men with the power. Gabriel MacBain of Saving Grace is the ruler of a clan divided. The heroes of Ransom – Brodick and Ramsey – each head their own clans. The Garwood hero is the strong-jawed, silent, enduring sort of man that decides he wants the heroine right away, and then does everything in his power to keep her in his grasp. book review Usually the hero has some sort of issue or problem that is only brought to light through the antics of the heroine, and with her at his side, he’s either able to conquer the issue or see it in a different light. The hero is essentially the foil for the heroine, but what a foil (yum).

Plot: The Heroine’s Journey

The speed of the plot depends on the book itself. Garwood is fond of prologues, and the prologue usually sets up the heroine’s back-story. Usually things start moving right around page 50 of a Julie Garwood novel and the hero and heroine usually have sex towards the front of the book or no later than the middle.

Writing style: Conversational

I’m not a fan of "ornate’ story-telling, so Garwood’s simple, easy narrative is a joy to follow.

Dialogue: Snappy Banter

book review Garwood is a master of dialogue. The hero and the heroine always have a great interplay and argue brilliantly. Here’s an example from The Lion’s Lady:

“Are you angry because I”m not afraid of you?” she asked.

“No,” Lyon answered, giving her a lazy grin. “I”m not angry at all.”

“Oh, yes you are,” Christina said. “I can feel the anger inside you. And your strength. I think you might be just as strong as a lion.”

He shook his head. “You say the oddest things,” he remarked. He couldn”t seem to stop touching her. His thumb slowly brushed her full lower lip. Her softness fascinated him, beckoned him.

“I don”t mean to say odd things,” Christina said, frowning now. “It is very difficult to banter with you.” She turned her face away from him and whispered, “My Aunt Patricia doesn”t want me in your company, Lyon. If she realizes I”m outside with you, she”ll be most displeased.”

Lyon raised an eyebrow over that announcement. “She”s going to have to be displeased then, isn”t she?”

“She says you”re too shrewd,” Christina told him.

“And that is a fault?” Lyon asked, frowning.

“Too wealthy, too,” Christina added, nodding her head when he gave her an incredulous look.

“What”s wrong with being wealthy?” Lyon asked.

“You wouldn’’t be manageable.” Christina quoted her aunt”s opinion.

“Damn right.”

“See, you agree with my Aunt Patricia after all,” Christina returned.

book review Even when the characters aren’t passing witty zingers back and forth, a lot of the dialogue still has great emotional impact. Here’s a small clip from Honor’s Splendour

“Delenda est Carthago,” Madelyne whispered to herself, repeating the vow made so long ago by Cato, an elder of ancient times.

Duncan was surprised by Madelyne”s remark. He wondered how she”d ever come by such knowledge. “Aye, Madelyne. Like Carthage, your brother must be destroyed.”

“And do I belong to Loud…to Carthage as well?” Madelyne asked, refusing to speak her brother”s name.

“Nay, Madelyne, you don”t belong to Carthage.”

Madelyne nodded and then closed her eyes. She sagged against Duncan”s chest.

Duncan used his hand to push her chin up, forcing her to look at him again.

“You don’t belong to Louddon, Madelyne. From this moment on, you belong to me. Do you understand?”

Madelyne nodded her head.

Duncan released his hold on her when he saw how frightened he was making her. He watched her a moment longer and then slowly, aye, gently, pulled the cloak up over her face.

From her warm hiding place against him, Madelyne whispered, “I think I would rather belong to no man.”

Humor: Situational and Snappy

I love the humor in Garwood’s books. She enjoys putting the heroine in strange situations and having her work her way out of them. Since Garwood is also fond of the "extremely innocent’ and sheltered heroine, you can guess that a lot of the humor involves mistaken innuendo or innocent actions taken the wrong way.

Emotional Angst: Average

There’s definitely emotional angst and real problems touched upon, but you never feel beat down or emo after reading. I think this is in part because the angst-issues are equal with the humor of the story, and leaves you with a pleasant balance. There are deep issues hit upon (spousal abuse, blackmail, abusive family) but Garwood never makes the reader feel dragged through the wringer.

Conflict: Both Internally and Externally Driven

Garwood’s books tend to focus on the heroine’s journey, so most of the conflicts provided that deal with the over-arching story belong to her. In The Secret, the key driving force is Judith’s secret, and how it affects her relationships. In Honour’s Splendour, Madelyne’s brother is the villain and drives the plot, but there’s also an overall story arc of Madelyne growing from a timid woman to an independent, strong person, and the two plots are intertwined.

Setting: British Isles with the occasional foray outward

Julie Garwood is best known, I think, for her medieval romances. They are set anywhere from the Norman Conquest (The Prize) to King John’s reign (Saving Grace). Most of the medievals involve an English lady marrying a Scottish laird and moving to Scotland with him. Garwood has actually taken a lot of flack from historians who feel that her use of plaids and castles and such are not historically accurate, but Garwood also states that she prides herself on her accuracy and that these claims are false. "Plaids’ are mentioned for the Scots, but never tartans or kilts. Castles are mentioned, but without enough detail to point it to a specific time-frame so it never rang out as blatantly false for me (though others may argue).

book review Some of Garwood’s historicals are also set in Regency England (The Gift) and America (The Clayborne Brides: One Pink Rose / One White Rose / One Red Rose). Her most recent (Shadow Music) features a made-up country in Europe.

For those looking for a very detailed, grimly accurate picture of medieval life, keep moving. As a reader (and fangirl), I feel that the setting in a Garwood historical is there for ambiance more than a character on its own.

Heat level: Warm

Garwood’s love scenes are fairly detailed (except for penetration) and were probably steamy for the early 90’s, but would fall flat in comparison to today’s more erotic-leaning romances. There’s no wacky sex antics, and the most scandalous it gets is an outdoor love scene (The Bride).

Pace: Brisk

Because of the quick dialogue and the characters driving the story, the pace of a Julie Garwood romance always feels lively to me. There’s not a lot of downtime where the heroine mopes and feels sorry for herself, and there’s not a lot of internal emotional angst that goes on for chapter after chapter, dragging the story down. You never get the feeling of breakneck speed either, so I think Garwood has a very good balance.

You Would Like-

As I thought of authors to recommend, the main thing I kept coming back to was charm. I think to get the same "warm fuzzies’ feeling that a Garwood novel gives me, we need to have a good mix of character development, a plot that draws the hero and heroine together, and mix it with a good dose of adventurous fun. The authors I’ve chosen all give me the same "warm fuzzy’ feeling and I hope they would do the same for you.

Jude Deveraux’s historical romances are my closest pick for that lovely fun charm. Her romances read much like a Hershey’s kiss. Rich and sweet and brief. Deveraux loves the situational humor in her stories, and her heroines are memorable. She wrote a variety of time periods, but definitely has several medievals to choose from. My favorite pick from her backlist is The Taming, the story of a spoiled heiress who marries the dirtiest knight in England.

Lisa Kleypas is my second pick. One of my favorite authors, Kleypas tackles Regency (and post-Regency) period England with strong heroes, charming heroines, and some great plots. Overall, there’s a great sense of humor throughout her books, and her heroines are high-spirited and headstrong without going over into TSTL-land. I’d highly recommend starting with The Devil in Winter (The Wallflowers, Book 3) or It Happened One Autumn (The Wallflowers, Book 2). Read DIW for the hero, and IHOA for the bossy (but fun) heroine.

Julia Quinn is a natural pick. How can I have a list about feel-good historical romance and not include the current favorite? Julia Quinn is a master of witty dialogue and cute, charming comedy. Her books are set in Regency England, and most feature the Bridgerton family – 8 siblings out to marry their way through society. They’re great fun, and my favorite was Romancing Mister Bridgerton (Bridgerton Series, Book 4).

For an old-school pick, I’m going to go back to the 1980s and select Catherine Coulter’s impressive backlist. Like most historical authors in that time frame, Coulter wrote a mix of medieval and regency romances, along with the occasional Viking (yes, Viking!) tossed in. Coulter is known for her witty, comedic dialogue and is an old favorite of mine. While some of her books don’t hold up as well over time (If you see a passage about "cream to ease her way’, run!), she’s still on my re-read shelf for all eternity. Earth Song is my recommendation for her – a light, funny medieval about a kidnapped heroine built like a giant, and a poor-as-dirt hero.

You want hot Highlanders? Karen Marie Moning is your girl. While her books don’t go as far back in medieval Scotland (I think most are between 1300-1500) and she features time travel as a very large plot aspect, the sex is hot. Very hot. The men are even hotter. These books have a lot of charm and everyone I recommend them to loves them. Try Kiss of the Highlander (The Highlander Series, Book 4).

Betina Krahn writes very funny medievals with a light, frothy touch. I really enjoyed The Husband Test and the other accompanying books in the series. I believe Krahn writes a variety of time periods, but I’ve only read her medievals.

Teresa Medeiros is all over the page when it comes to historical periods (and a few paranormal!), but you have to include her books when you mention "charming’ stories that make you feel good. Her stories remind me of fairy tales (and that’s a high compliment). She’s concentrated lately on Regency England, but Charming the Prince remains one of my favorites.

I realize that I’m referencing a lot of books from the past twenty years, and most will be available at your used book store (so you can glom on a back-list in a hurry). Want something recent that came out? Here’s my recommendations.

I can’t have a list about light, fun books without mentioning Jo Beverley’s latest, A Lady’s Secret. I tell everyone that this is about a "nun on the run and a dandy’ and that usually sells the book. Jayne at DA loved it. I loved it. Go read it. Beverley also wrote several medievals in her past, but they tend to move towards darker themes and will probably not be a good match.

Sherry Thomas is a newer author but one that’s going to be on my auto-buy list for quite some time. Her most recent book, Delicious, isn’t what I’d call knee-slapping funny, but there was a sweet, wonderful fairy-tale quality to the entire story, and the ending made me weepy with joy. Definitely a feel-good book and definite warm fuzzies.

Laura Lee Guhrke is another that came onto my radar last year with And Then He Kissed Her. DA reviewed this one too. Her Victorians tend to be lighter and definitely a witty, fun read with a strong, heroine-centric story. I haven’t read a lot of her back-list, but I intend to.

So those are my suggestions. Any others?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

45 Comments

  1. Tae
    Oct 13, 2008 @ 06:24:38

    You’ve covered most of the ones I’d think of, but I’d also include Mary Balogh for sweet, charming books. I also enjoy the humor in some of them, especially Slightly Dangerous. She has the Bedwyn series which all have “slightly” in the name and they continued with four school teachers, one of whom was a governess for one of the Bedwyns. I’m a huge fan of Balogh. They’re a bit more emotionally angsty, I think. The heroes aren’t all powerful Lords or Dukes, however.

    Christina Dodd’s historicals. I enjoyed the Rules of… series, I think there were only four. Her contemporaries are fine, but I think her historicals really shine. She also seemed to copy storylines out of very famous movies like Sabrina and Sound of Music. If you read them, you’ll recognize it immediately.

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  2. Tabitha
    Oct 13, 2008 @ 07:05:01

    I would recommend Andrea Kane’s historicals. Her characters are very engaging, and the adventures and charm are all there. Samantha is a good one to try out although that’s 2nd in the Barett’s duo.

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  3. Kathryn S
    Oct 13, 2008 @ 10:09:25

    I would recommend Meg Cabot’s historicals written as Patricia Cabot. Also, Connie Brockway’s lighter books like The Bridal Season.

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  4. Chrissy
    Oct 13, 2008 @ 10:42:42

    I don’t like anything but her historicals, but I LOVE the historicals.

    There’s a scene in LL where the hero is speaking to a friend and says he’s made his choice. When asked which woman he meant, he points her out as the one standing in the bushes chewing on the leaves.

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  5. rebyj
    Oct 13, 2008 @ 10:47:30

    Good reccomendations.

    “For the Roses” is one of my top 10 books of all time.
    So I’d add Pamela Morsi’s historicals for the absolute fantastic humor and the unique settings of early 20th century rural America.

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  6. Lynne Connolly
    Oct 13, 2008 @ 11:32:28

    Absolutely fascinating!

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  7. Jeanette
    Oct 13, 2008 @ 11:44:24

    I always pull a Garwood out when I need a lift. She is the first author that I re-read. I was going to loan some books to a friend and started looking through “The Gift” and stopped to read the scene of her leaving her home through the window, ended up re-reading the whole thing. Then, I re-read “Honor’s Splendour” the most romantic Garwood and started my keeper pile for re-reads.
    For historical humor I also love Lynsay Sands “The Deed” and Jill Barnett’s “Bewitching” and “Dreaming” and I agree with Tabitha about Andrea Kane’s “Samantha”.
    I am so glad someone else feels the way I do about Garwood’s books, Thanks Jill!

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  8. Vishnupriya
    Oct 13, 2008 @ 11:44:31

    Lions lady, Guardian Angel, The Gift and Castles!!

    They are my favorite series, so witty, and humorous.. Gift was my first book of Grawood’s.. and i completely fell in love with the book.. so humorous and romantic :)

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  9. Jill Myles
    Oct 13, 2008 @ 11:50:49

    Tae: Mary Balogh (whom I love) strikes me as having a somber note to her books, even when she’s being light. I do agree about Christina Dodd, though! I really enjoyed her governess books.

    Tabitha: I have never read Andrea Kane – I need to look her up. Thanks!

    Kathryn: I’m writing both of those down. I do hear the Patricia Cabot historicals mentioned a lot, now that you mention it.

    Chrissy: That sort of thing is EXACTLY why Garwood is my all-time favorite. She makes even the funniest situations seem sensible. :) Now I feel the need to re-read Lion’s Lady!

    rebyj: I admit I’m more of a ‘European Historical’ reader than a Frontier-America reader, but I’ll definitely look up Morsi – thank you!

    Jeanette: I feel exactly the same way about Garwood. She is the ultimate comfort read.

    Vishnupriya: My softest spot is for her medievals, though I do love the regencies. When I wrote this, the medievals were fresher on my mind, so I sort of waxed on a bit more about those. Sorry! :)

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  10. rebyj
    Oct 13, 2008 @ 12:19:07

    Jill, Morsi’s historicals were published in the late 80s and 90s I think.
    Some stand out titles are ” Garters” “Marrying Stone” “Simple Jess” and “Courting Miss Hattie”

    It’s not Little House on the Prairie Frontier it’s more 1900 – 1930′s . Pretty good books if you run across them I hope you enjoy them!

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  11. Susan/DC
    Oct 13, 2008 @ 12:25:31

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned Amanda Quick’s Regencies which, to my mind, have some of the same light, humorous touch as Garwood’s books.

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  12. Love Romance Passion
    Oct 13, 2008 @ 12:38:38

    Great post! :D I have only read two of LLG novels and so far I find them average. I would go with Kleypas, Quinn, and Medeiros myself. I’d also throw in Julia London and Lynsay Sands.

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  13. Keri M
    Oct 13, 2008 @ 13:59:02

    How about Johanna Lyndsay’s Regency historicals,I wore myself out on reading her. When it got to where I couldn’t tell from one book to the next, I stopped buying hers. But I still reread some of her older ones. I have too many favs of hers to mention them individually, but if I had to name just two it would be So Speaks the Heart and Silver Angel. Keri

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  14. Jill Myles
    Oct 13, 2008 @ 15:05:25

    You know, I love the old school Johanna Lindsay as well. Silver Angel is one of my favorites, but that’s another one that probably doesn’t hold up well over time (I confess that I’m a fan of the ‘harem fantasy’ thing, as long as it falls firmly into ‘fantasy’).

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  15. orannia
    Oct 13, 2008 @ 16:56:20

    Thank you Jill! It’s weird – I always seem to read (and love) the less well read books by various authors. For example, when people speak of Loretta Chase they think of Lord of Scoundrels, yet my favourite is Knave’s Wager. And for Julie Garwood, my favourites are Prince Charming and The Prize. Saying that, I haven’t tried any of the others….is there is good one to start at please?

    Oh, and I just re-read Betina Krahn’s The Husband Test (and loved it just as much the second time around). I don’t know why, but I love a book in which the hero/heroine has to fix an estate… Plus, The Husband Test was very amusing. I must hunt down some more Bettina Krahn medievals.

    IIRC, Connie Brockway’s The Rose Hunters trilogy has a similar feel. I am still keeping my fingers crossed (figuratively, as it would be hard to type otherwise) that Connie will write the medieval story behind the yellow rose mentioned in The Rose Hunters….and the medieval novella (which was delightful) Connie wrote as part of Once Upon A Pillow makes me think she would do a great job.

    orannia *who loves medievals*

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  16. Jill Myles
    Oct 13, 2008 @ 19:54:07

    orannia, I love medievals too! If you want Julie Garwood medievals, my favorites are SAVING GRACE, THE SECRET, THE BRIDE, THE WEDDING, and HONOR’S SPLENDOR. My personal favorite is SG, though I think THE SECRET is a superior book, and I think Jane prefers HS. So run with one of those, heh.

    I’ve never read Connie Brockway! I’ll have to check her out – I didn’t realize she wrote medievals.

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  17. orannia
    Oct 13, 2008 @ 20:31:41

    WOW! Thank you so much Jill. I think I’ll start with Saving Grace, The Secret and Honor's Splendor, although the order will depend on what my library has :)

    Connie Brockway has only written a medieval novella (in Once Upon A Pillow). My bad – The Rose Hunters trilogy isn’t medieval, it’s set in the early 19th century. However, mention is made in the book (without giving away any spoilers) of a yellow rose, and it’s history. It’s the story of how the rose reaches Scotland that I hope Connie will one day write (fingers crossed).

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  18. Christine
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 04:31:54

    I got into Garwood after reading ‘The Secret’s review here on Dear Author, and I’ve been hooked ever since! I’ve liked every one I’ve read so far (except maybe ‘The Wedding’; I just didn’t click with the main characters!)

    However, I think my favorite medievals are by Elizabeth Lowell. Her trilogy – Untamed, Forbidden, and Enchanted – is witty, funny, gripping, and very steamy (it’s just too bad that she never wrote a medieval about Erik; I was SO disappointed with ‘Moving Target’!) Those three were written back in the early 1990s, but they’ve been reissued (I really like the new covers!)

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  19. Moth
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 09:53:44

    I have no author’s to recommend that haven’t been recommended already but I thought I could expand the Jude Deveraux recommendation.

    Her writing gets downright hilarious. Several of her books had me rolling on the floor laughing out loud. The Taming and its sequel The Conquest were never my favorites but they’re not bad.

    I always loved the Velvet saga about four brothers in medieval England.
    Velvet Song was my favorite (Raine= *droolworthy hawtness*) and Velvet Promise was good too. I am less fond of the second and fourth books.

    I also loved The Black Lyon which is a much earlier period. (The Montgomery brothers in the Velvets are distant descendents of the hero and heroine from this book).

    The Heiress is another of my old favorites set in Elizabethan England (?). Another one with some great humor and a droolworthy hero.

    My absolute very favorite Deveraux ever (and the first romance novel I ever read), though, was The Raider, which is set in the colonies about a decade before The Revolutionary War. It’s a masked hero, Zorro-esque adventure and I LOVE it! The ending- OMG I think that was the first time I ever laughed so hard at a book. I love Alex and his BFF Nick. Jess can get to be a bit much but the supporting cast, the setting, the plot. Oh! So good! So, so good. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

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  20. Jill Myles
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 09:59:47

    I’m a big fan of Deveraux’s early historicals, and I do think they have the light touch that a lot of Julie Garwood fans would like. The only word of caution I have is that we sometimes have the 1980′s romance hero. The “I’ll make you like it” type of wooing that doesn’t go over well with modern sensibilities. So read with a grain of salt on some of them, but overall I think she’s a solid read. Two of my favorites of hers are actually WISHES and TWIN OF ICE, but since those weren’t medieval, I didn’t recommend those. :)

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  21. Moth
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 12:08:49

    Yea, Jill, she was rather fond of the hero forcing the heroine the first time with that “spark of pleasure” mid-rape for the heroine. It’s probably good you brought that up. I always hated it but the rest of her books were usually good enough I overlooked that first part.

    For the squemish who can’t stand that these books feature the hero forcing the heroine to have sex the first time (usually they’re wedding night, oddly enough) fair warning these are the Deveraux’s I’ve read that have that:

    Velvet Promise
    Highland Velvet (actually not between the hero and heroine but there is a graphic rape of one of the minor characters that upset me so much I’ve never reread this book)
    The Taming
    The Black Lyon
    The Maiden (I can’t remember if it’s the wedding night but later the hero essentially pounces on the heroine and has his way with her. I don’t remember if it was a rape so much as it was just really abrupt and rough).

    I hope some Garwood fans give ol’ Dev a try. She really wrote some craktastic good stuff. Pure junk food, but still delicious.

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  22. Jill Myles
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 12:40:11

    Agreed, Moth. She’s one of my all time favorite re-reads. :) Right next to Garwood!

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  23. Lisa
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 15:01:08

    Jude Deveraux’s older books do have the same sense of humor as Julie Garwood. Unfortunately, I have found her newer books to be missing some of the same spark. I read Deveraux before Garwood and my first thought when reading Garwood was how much she reminded me of Deveraux.

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  24. Cindy
    Oct 19, 2008 @ 23:00:07

    I have read over and over all of the Garwood, McNaught and Lindsay books and really wanted to find other authors as good. Garwood just doesn’t write historicals fast enough (I didn’t like her mystery books as well). Garwood books are really a great stress reducer for me but I think I’ve memorized all the words. I will check out some of these others in hopes of finding someone similar.

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions!!

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  25. kd2
    Oct 26, 2008 @ 12:38:03

    Try Jill Barnett – she’s got lots of that same humour, flawed but endearing heroines and lightness of atmosphere

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  26. Michelle
    Oct 27, 2008 @ 11:39:35

    Back in their day, I used to equate Julie Garwood with Judith McNaught. Garwood had a lot more humor, but they both wrote those huge, bigger-than-life romances that just swept you away. I always thought of those two as being in a class of their own.

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  27. Jenny
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 10:10:05

    My God, I thought I was the only one who feels this way about Garwood’s book! I’m glad others feel it too.
    I’d require you to read Lisa Kleypas historicals

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  28. Rosamary
    May 01, 2009 @ 14:42:31

    I found this site searching for…Who Writes Like Julie Garwood? She is my re-read special author…and I laugh my way through her books, again and again! About once a year, I bring out my Garwood collection of historical romances and re-read each one. They are my feel good books – guaranteed! I think my favorite is The Bride. I pass on Garwood's modern stories since that period is not my favorite. Thanks for giving me a few new names to start reading…that was the info I was searching for…

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  29. Holly
    Jun 03, 2009 @ 05:45:22

    Am so glad I found this sight, Garwood seems to have destroyed my hope of enjoying anyone else, am so glad to hear there are people who feel the same. You cant help but love a highlander, my fav is the bride, have read more times then I can count. I would love to know of any books that anyone can recomend along the lines of these instead of the regency I would very much apreciate it.

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  30. Rosamary
    Jun 03, 2009 @ 06:49:42

    I have read many of the ladies mentioned in earlier posts in this thread (I think that’s what this is – computer knowledge limited! lol). But I have to say the authors do not have the humor of Julie Garwood – not even close in my opinion.

    I would appreciate suggestions of NEWER authors writing about Scotland and England where Julie’s earlier romance books are based. When I find an author that makes me laugh out loud and gives me the same type leading lady, I will shout it to the world and especially post it here!

    I have seen other websites where the same question is being asked….who writes funny romance novels…like Julie Garwood…and there is never an answer that proves true for me.

    I don’t consider myself a prude…but please, no matter how funny a book, I do not want to read a book where the leading man is a little too brutal and cruel toward the leading lady physically or sexually – no matter if he turns his life around later in the book and sees the errors of his ways. There is such brutal sexual aggression and almost rape in some romance books, it makes me ill and I will not finish reading the book! I hate to think some women reading these stories would think is the norm and acceptable in a relationship.

    I do like Stephanie Laurens books and Hannah Howell…not for laughing…just good stories and characters. I keep those in my “go back to read again” stack, along with my Julie Garwood books.

    Thanks.

    Rosamary

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  31. Kelly
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 10:13:00

    OMG. I’m SO glad I found this. I too found this site while searching especially for books with the humor of Julie Garwood. I just discovered her when I bought a used book (For the Roses) from the library book sale in May and I am already down to my last few books by her to read. Which is my favorite? Hmmmm. I too would have to say maybe the Bride, but I do also enjoy the newer ones of the Buchanan/Renard/MacKenna series. It’s neat to hear the names of generations old from prior books. I like connections. I like series. I think they should add Clayborne in there too since Noah is a Clayborne from For the Roses series. I loved that book too, For the Roses. That might actually be my favorite. Do I have to choose just one?? lol

    Thank everyone for all the suggestions. They should keep me busy for awhile. As I said, I’m down to my last few Julie Garwood and I was starting to fiercly panic wondering if I could ever find any books as good.

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  32. Tara
    Aug 13, 2009 @ 03:05:08

    I am so happy I found this!! I have been ruined because I haven’t been able to find anyone who writes like her! I actually first discovered Dorothy Garlock and read all of her books rather quickly so I set off to find a new author and as luck would have it I picked The Bride at a used book store and instantly fell in love! Thanks for all the suggestions I can’t wait to try some out.

    Tara

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  33. Julie
    Jan 23, 2010 @ 00:14:28

    I am so incredibly excited to have located this forum. I have been reading Julie Garwood books since I was about 13 years old. I started with ‘The Gift’ and was immediately captivated! I believe I’ve re-read her entire Romance library over a dozen times.

    I’ve sampled a few of Julie Garwood’s more recent books but am left discontented and contemplating her decision to change her style. I can only hope that she will return to writing the Historical Romance novels again. Until then, thank you all for the recommendations! I will be shopping for books tomorrow!!

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  34. heather
    Mar 17, 2010 @ 19:05:46

    I LOOOVE Julie Garwood… I just really got into romance novels recently. I never realized I would get so hooked. I have read and loved all of Garwoods books. I also LOVE Judith Mcnaught. I recently read some of Pamela Clare’s books and they are a little more steamy but I really enjoyed those as well.

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  35. Marlise
    Feb 23, 2011 @ 02:24:02

    Someone once told me that reading these kind of books will warp my sense of reality, because real life and love is not like that. Since then I’ve hidden my love of romance novels like a dirty little secret. Now after reading all your comments I’m crying on my keyboard. I LOVE Judith McNaught and Julie Garwood and now I’m not alone anymore.

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  36. Emily
    May 22, 2011 @ 21:03:39

    Okay, I’m of two minds. When I was a child I loved Jude Deveraux and Julie Garwood. Now when I read JD’s stuff I have to read something newer to clean my mind. In Velvet Promise the “hero” slaps Judith across the face in the first 50 pgs. I’m not okay with that. Then he rapes her on their wedding night. Still not okay with that. The other three books in the series are much more low-key and enjoyable.

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  37. Jane
    May 22, 2011 @ 21:07:53

    Oh, Emily. Going back can be traumatic. What about Whitney My Love?

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  38. Sabra
    Apr 19, 2012 @ 20:50:12

    I’m also a HUGE fan of Julie Garwood. She is my all time favorite author, and I have sadly yet to find anything like like quite as much. Personally my favorite is “The Wedding” with the heroine praying out loud! :) Every time I think of her books I laugh out loud and they make me feel so good!

    I also like Johanna Lindsay, Debbie Macomber, and several others, but again I’ve yet to find an author I like as much as JG.

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  39. Emily
    Jan 20, 2013 @ 15:40:39

    I would recommend Andrea Kane, she’s an amazing writer, she does contemporary and historical very well. But as for Theresa Medeiros, I find her stories lacking in development of the romance between the characters and just very empty in terms of plot. I read Fairest of Them All, and a few others and was not impressed.

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  40. Heather
    Jan 25, 2013 @ 21:16:46

    What about Kathleen Woodwiss or Sherilyn Kenyon? Julie Garwood is by far, imho, the best writer of historical romance. Kinley MacGregor (S. Kenyon) not far behind. However, if you you are looking for a quick read of romance (think Harlequin) I recommend Charlotte Lamb, Hayton Monteith (a/k/a Helen Mittermeyer), and Sarah Craven.
    Please…can I just get another “Honours Splender” type book reccomendation? Absolutely the “pinnacle” of romance. Thanks everybody!

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  41. Melinda
    Jul 03, 2013 @ 17:19:59

    When I run out of Garwood novels, I will turn straight to Jude Devereaux. Like Garwood, Devereaux does historical pieces with wit, humor and steamy sex. They both write stories that often connect with characters that you can’t help but love. There are times when I am re-reading them that I forget which author I am reading. Unfortunately neither writes fast enough to keep up with my voracious reading appetite.

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  42. Lori
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 14:35:03

    Julie Garwood – absolutely the best, ever, for historical romances!! I don’t mind the sex scenes when they go with the story… I just don’t want the story to be about sex instead of romance. On that note, Johanna Lindsey, Julia Quinn, Victoria Alexander, Mary Balogh, Julia London, Anne Gracie, and Laura Landon are similar and very good writers. Jayne Ann Krentz as Amanda Quick has some pretty good stuff, too, but it is not really the same style.

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  43. Nancy2
    Oct 30, 2013 @ 15:58:11

    Hi Jane!
    Just wanted to thank you for all the info on your site. I hope I have more to contribute at a future date. I actually wanted to try to give back by following your link to Amazon and purchasing through it, but I wasn’t sure how it worked. When I linked it seemed to take me right to my normal, logged in Amazon page, with no clue as to whether a percentage of the purchase would go to your page or not. Can you clarify for this newbie?

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  44. Nancy2
    Oct 30, 2013 @ 16:14:16

    Maya Banks has written some cute books approaching the Garwood style. Never Seduce a Scot, Highlander Most Wanted, and Highland Ever After from The Montgomerys and Armstrongs trilogy are worth a look for fans of the not altogether realistic but highly diverting highland romance genre.

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  45. Jane
    Oct 30, 2013 @ 19:55:22

    @Nancy2: Hey Nancy. Following the link should count toward our affiliate count. Thanks so much! It does look exactly like a regular Amazon page.

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